Tokyo stocks headed far south Wednesday amid swelling fears over a global resurgence in novel coronavirus cases.
The 225-issue Nikkei average listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange tumbled 590.40 points, or 2.04%, to close at 28,405.52, stretching its losing streak to a fourth market day. On Tuesday, the key price index fell 178.23 points.
The Topix index of all first-section issues dived 42.90 points, or 2.18%, to 1,928.58 in a three-day slump, after losing 18.70 points the previous day.
Investors rushed to sell stocks from the outset, in the wake of a Wall Street fallback on Tuesday caused by growing concerns over spikes in COVID-19 cases in the United States and Europe, particularly Germany, where lockdown measures were extended until mid-April, brokers said.
The market was also hit hard by a crude oil price plunge and a continued Chinese stock sell-off amid heightened tensions between Beijing and Washington.
Stocks showed some resilience in the early afternoon. But they widened losses in late trading due to stepped-up selling to square positions before the current fiscal year ends on March 31, brokers said.
“Economically sensitive cyclicals, in particular, fared poorly, as the fresh coronavirus wave in Europe and worse-than-expected U.S. new home sales in February dented hopes for a global economic recovery,” said Maki Sawada, strategist at Nomura Securities Co.
Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Co., pointed out that if tightened virus measures in Germany and other European countries fail to prove successful, global pandemic resurgence fears would balloon.
On the TSE first section, decliners trounced gainers 2,026 to 139, while 28 issues were unchanged. Volume grew to 1.59 billion shares from Tuesday’s 1.37 billion shares.
Among cyclicals, Airline ANA and Nippon Steel plummeted 7.21% and 5.09%, respectively.
Oil name Inpex dived 5.69% due to the crude oil price slump. Other losers included tech investor SoftBank Group and automaker Toyota.
Meanwhile, precision equipment manufacturer Nikon soared 6.43% and chipmaking gear maker Tokyo Electron 5.05%, after U.S. tech giant Intel said it would invest in new semiconductor plants
Automaker Isuzu and retailer Aeon also attracted buying.
In index futures trading on the Osaka Exchange, the key June contract on the Nikkei average fell 620 points to end at 28,190.
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